Match Previews: Italian Serie A (Week 15)

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Updated: December 3, 2013
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Bologna vs. Juventus

Match Date: 06 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Renato Della`Ara

 

Bologna

Winless for four consecutive weeks, Bologna are in desperate need of a win. The clean sheets they scored against Livorno and Cagliari should have served as inspiration to keep their performance up, but since drawing 0-0 with Chievo, the side have never gained back their momentum. They were only beaten once in their last four matches, but the dull stalemates they obtained from the rest of the streak were not enough to keep them at least two points clear of relegation. They are currently just one spot away from the bottom three, but score-wise, they are level with 18th placers Livorno at 12 points.

 

Rossoblù are apparently having a difficult run in the English top-tier football, and their paucity in rigid defense is the main factor that drags them down to the less safe spots in the table. Stefano Pioli’s main concern should be his men’s dilemma on defending counter attacks, though his focus and aggressive approach to creating scoring chances is a good resource to capitalize on.

 

Juventus

Like a giant causing massive tremors on the turf, Juventus are putting their opponents’ knees to a quake. The current league leaders have been undefeated in their last six Serie A fixtures, and what is more impressive to that streak is that all of those results yielded clean sheets. Three points above AS Roma (the second placers), Vecchia Signora are confident that they will stay on top with more tourneys to come.

 

A brilliant combo of defense and attack is keeping Antonio Conte’s men in-form. Key players like Fernando Llorente and Paul Pogba have already mastered their own tactics, and they will remain among the team’s assets for as long as they continue delivering.

 

Football betting tip: There is a very slim chance that Bologna would draw with Juventus, and an even slimmer possibility that they will win over them. The hosts may score a goal or two, but the visitors will eventually dominate the scoring.

 

Juventus | Image source: uefa.com

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Livorno vs. AC Milan

Match Date: 07 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Armando Picchi

 

Livorno

Majority of the points they scored this season were obtained at home, but this does not mean that Livorno are completely safe in their own territory. They may have won and forced a draw a few times in the Stadio Armando Picchi, but they also lost their matches three times in the very same venue. Bottom-line, a comfort zone is non-existent to Amaranto.

 

Current rankings position Davide Nicola’s lads at number 18, which means that they are among the occupants of the relegation zone. They have only been able to pick 12 points from all their matches, and will certainly need a win in order to narrowly escape the dreaded region of the league table.

 

AC Milan

The breathtaking stunts of Montolivo, Balotelli, and Kaka were stunning enough to help their team collect all the three points in their most recent tourney against Catania 1-3. The victory pushed the side further upwards in the table, as well as served as a positive break in the squad’s five-match winless streak. Overall, Massimiliano Allegri’s troupe have already earned 17 points from 14 matches, with an equal number of goals scored and conceded (21).

 

Milan’s strength largely anchors on their resilience. Emerging strong after every downfall is a common scenario within the club. In addition, they are excellent at creating long shot opportunities and firing attacks down the wings.

 

Football betting tip: There are only a few things that set Livorno and Milan apart. Nonetheless, it is still a difference, and one of them is clearly the superior side in this meeting. A winning Milan should be expected by the conclusion of the brawl.

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Napoli vs. Udinese

Match Date: 07 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio San Paolo

 

Napoli

Two goals from Gonzalo Higuain proved decisive as Napoli extolled a forceful 4-2 victory against Lazio at Stadio Olimpico. The three points picked up from this fixture helped the squad retain their third-spot position in the league table, although still a relatively disheartening result considering their superiority in the season’s first three weeks. Regardless, Partenopei remain a massive wall that other clubs would fear to bring down. They have already obtained 31 points from all their tourneys, a figure only surpassed by Roma and Juventus.

 

Udinese

With fluctuating results capping their current streak, Udinese will find inconsistency a tremendous burden. Their victories over Parma, Genoa, Cagliari, Sassuolo, and Fiorentina were indeed impressive, but these could not hide the fact that the bulk number of the side’s matches finished in embarrassing defeats. Bianconeri are currently ranked in the table’s lower half, with a record of W5-D1-L8.

 

Football betting tip: Based on how they demonstrate their strengths and manage their weaknesses, Napoli have the upper hand over Udinese. The home side will pick up all the three points from this joist, but Udinese will not go home without at least one goal in their scoreboard.

 

Napoli | Image source: examiner.com

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AS Roma vs. Fiorentina

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Olimpico

 

Roma

After drawing with Atalanta 1-1 on Sunday, Roma have remained to be the only club this season to be unbeaten. But despite this, they are currently not the table leaders (second). This is because their past four matches have all been deadlocks. It seems that i Giallorossi are on the rocks of achieving better results, specially so that before these draws, they were completely successful in every fixture they battled out since opening day. Nonetheless, there is little to worry about Rudi Garcia’s men. Their knack on counter attacks and defense on set pieces will keep them safe throughout the competition.

 

Fiorentina

The past three matches of Fiorentina were both dismaying and impressive. They were goal-less in their meetings with Udinese 1-0 and Paços de Ferreira in the Europa League 0-0, but they also stockpiled a massive attack after stealing four goals from Hellas Verona in their most recent Serie A battle. All these suggest that Viola are inconsistent, but at the same time, resilient. On the road, the troupe are generally fine. They have won four of the seven away matches they had this season.

 

Football betting tip: Endowed with a more solid form and a more well-defined itinerary to their campaign than their opponents, Roma will definitely rule this match over.

 

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Cagliari vs. Genoa

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio San Elia

 

Cagliari

Cagliari attained their 9th point in seven home matches following the 2-2 stalemate on weekend against Sassuolo. The attack-powered performance was a considerable decline compared to the 15 points they scored in the last seven home fixtures they had the previous season. Ironically, that figure is already the overall score of the team this term, which is several points short to push them at least in the 10th spot. Conceding 22 goals in 14 matches, Diego López’s men are spending their 12th non-consecutive week in the league table’s lower half (14th).

 

Genoa

Scoring at least one goal in three of Genoa’s last five matches, Alberto Gilardino is cementing his name as one of the main attacking pillars of the Gian Piero Gasperini-led ensemble. The player has been showing good displays lately, and he is one of the reasons that Genoa remain unbeaten for five consecutive weeks now (two wins, three draws). However, there are still plenty of things that he and his colleagues need to accomplish in order to secure absolute safety in the rankings. Presently, they are ranked at number seven, and they need more wins to help them barge into the top five.

 

Football betting tip: Although Genoa are more in-form this season than Cagliari, a draw is perceived to happen in this fixture. In their last six meetings together, each side have obtained three wins. Hence, it is very likely that now would the time for them to hold each other in a draw.

 

Cagliari | Image source: zimbio.com

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Hellas Verona vs. Atalanta

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi

 

Hellas Verona

For three consecutive matches (their most recent), Hellas Verona have been the underdogs. Losing points to Genoa, Chievo, and Fiorentina was a major upset to the club who were otherwise successful in their brawls with Sampdoria and Cagliari. They are generally good when playing in their own territory, hence the home loss they incurred from Chievo was really a disgrace. Most of the side’s defeats—five out of seven, to be exact—were obtained from their travels beyond the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi.

 

Despite the serial downfalls, Gialloblu are still holding strong to the top six. They were able to harvest 22 points from all their matches, thanks to a relatively fair W7-D1-L6 record.

 

Atalanta

Atalanta have predominantly been inconsistent, as evidenced by their away performances—one victory and six defeats. However, they have managed to obtain the points necessary to remain in the top 11.

 

In their most recent fixture, La Dea held Roma in a 1-1 draw—a result that came as a surprise considering the latter’s much more solid form than the former. Atalanta opened the scoring after halftime when Davide Brivio sent a free kick into the bottom right corner. Roma’s Michael Bradley thought he had delivered an equalizer in the 76th but his header was ruled out for offside. Andrea Consigli made several good saves for Atalanta, but finally lost control when Adem Ljajic crossed for Kevin Strootman to tap in from six yards in the match’s dying minutes.

 

Online betting tip: Despite their recent fiascoes, Hellas Verona are still one of the strongest sides in the league and can potentially pose danger to Atalanta. This meeting will be used by the hosts as proof (and way for redemption) that they are indeed very robust at home.

 

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 d

Sampdoria vs. Catania

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Comunale Luigi Ferraris

 

Sampdoria

Despite the clean sheet they obtained from clashing with Udinese a few weeks ago—which should have served as a motivation to improve—Sampdoria went back to suppressing a stirring momentum. Their last two matches (as with most of their runs this season) proved disastrous, conceding several goals to both Torino and Milan. The relegation zone has been the squad’s sick bed, and they have been lying there for more than six weeks (non-consecutive) now.

 

Siniša Mihajlović’s main dilemma for his troupe is i Blucerchiati’s lack of sizable skills in defending counter attacks. While they may be good at protecting set pieces, they are highly susceptible to crashing brought by poor response mechanism on through balls and attacks down the wings.

 

Catania

Currently on the league’s most fatal position, Catania are more than needy of a victory. They are salivating for it, and if getting it means sacrificing a lot of things, they’d do it. Unfortunately, even their harshest efforts are barely working. Rossazzurri have only been able to obtain nine points from all their matches, and they have already conceded 26 goals to finalize their goal difference in negative digits. Luigi De Canio’s coaching is going nowhere, and he being sacked in the future is not impossible.

 

Online betting tip: With both sides showing no evident superiority of the other, this match will most likely conclude in a deadlock.

 

Sampdoria | Image source: skysports.com

 

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Sassuolo vs. Chievo Verona

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Città del Tricolore

 

Sassuolo

Like the mainstream cliché, Sassuolo’s run in the Italian top-tier league is approaching a “rugs to riches” story. The side have been doing well in their most recent performances, exuding improvements that were once thought unrealistic.

 

For the past seven weeks, I Neroverdi have only been defeated once. They have secured victory in three occasions: versus Bologna 2-1, versus Sampdoria 3-4, and versus Atalanta 2-0. Among the deadlocks they scored in the tournament, their most impressive (and very unexpected) was the one with Roma 1-1. Such a feat with a superpower is yet another good omen that Eusebio Di Francesco’s men are on their way to the higher ground. In fact, they are now out of relegation after staying there for 11 consecutive weeks.

 

Chievo

Mussi Volanti are a pack of resilient fighters, able to pick themselves up every after a fall. After sustaining a difficult life in the relegation zone for several weeks, Chievo are now two places above the bottom three. Thanks to the recent successes they obtained in the tournament, Eugenio Corini’s men could now look forward to a much more dependable future. The draws with Bologna and Milan, and particularly the clean sheets they seized from derby rival Hellas Verona and Livorno, were extremely helpful in augmenting the squad’s form.

 

Online betting tip: Both Sassuolo and Chievo have interesting stories to tell and some stunts to showcase. The sides have both been inspired and inspiring. In this clash, a powerful exchange of maneuvers should be expected, and a draw is never impossible to happen.

 

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 UC Sampdoria v Torino FC - Serie A

Torino vs. Lazio

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino

 

Torino

Only earning 16 points from 14 matches, Torino are sitting quite uncomfortably in the league’s 12th spot. The position is not necessarily bad, but definitely not a reassuring one. Il Toro’s inconsistency problem may not be as harsh as their rivals’, but it is still an issue they have to resolve in whatever ways they could.

 

Torino’s last 10 Serie A matches have only rendered them with one victory. Three defeats gave them zero points while the rest of their tourneys were held in a draw.

 

Lazio

I Biancocelesti have been winless for five weeks now, after only earning draws in three matches and suffering downfalls in two. The perplexing run is not only worsening the side’s form, but is also taking a toll on their ranking in the table. Lazio have slipped one spot lower, from number eight last week to number nine in the current week.

 

Lazio are strong at creating long shot opportunities and scoring chances, but they perform rather badly in defending counter attacks and in managing through balls fired by their opponents.

 

Online betting tip: With both sides plagued by almost the same degree of unpredictability, this match would be Torino’s eighth stalemate, and Lazio’s sixth.

 

Torino | Image source: sportsmole.co.uk

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Internazionale vs. Parma

Match Date: 08 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

 

Internazionale

Their last seven matches in the Italian top-tier league gave Inter Milan enough points to remain in the table’s higher spots. Three of these fixtures finished in inspiring victories, capped by clean sheets from Udinese 0-3 and Livorno 2-0. Their joists against Torino, Atalanta, Bologna, and most recently Sampdoria all ended in a draw.

 

With the likes of Rodrigo Palacio and Ricardo Alvarez on the attack, Inter are assured of a massive offense. Their abilities to finish scoring chances and fire counter attacks are enough to keep their ball rolling. But with laudable skills in defending set pieces and stealing the ball from the opposition under their belt, winning would be no sweat for Walter Mazzarri’s team, especially over squads that have less rigid defense.

 

Parma

Of the six away matches they had this season, Parma were only able to win once. Two of those fixtures finished in a draw, while the rest were marred by defeats. Although they have been unbeaten in their last three tourneys, I Crociati are still short of points to reach at least the top eight. They currently carry 17 points to their scoreboard, with 19 goals conceded. Both figures contributed to their present position at number 10.

 

Online betting tip: With nearly a dozen points higher than their opponents, Inter should anticipate an optimistic result from this fixture. Parma could display fine maneuvers against their rivals, but the hosts would be more than capable of stealing at least two goals from their opponents.